The All New Digital Platform for Material Handling

The DC Platform, the new conveyor platform from Interroll, was pre-launched at the press conference held last December in Hinvil (Svizzera) at the Alfa Romeo Sauber Motorsport AG headquarters, with whom the intralogistics solution specialists can boast a 7 year, ongoing promotional partnership. The versatile and modular platform features Drive Rollers, control units and power units.

by Silvia Crespi

Interroll and Alfa Romeo Sauber Motorsport: two companies brought together not only due to their Swiss origin, but, more importantly, by a common goal. Both strive to innovate through excellence, sharing management vision, while operating in two different sectors.
This is why the Interroll DC Platform was launched at the Sauber Motorsport AG HQ in Hinwil, Switzerland on 4th December.
The collaboration between Interroll and Sauber goes back to 2012 and during the conference, the promotional partnership renewal, for a further two years, was announced. And the goal? Optimization of team logistic process, a critical factor when successfully competing at the highest level of automotive sport.
“We are delighted to extend our long-standing collaboration with Interroll” confirmed Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal of the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team & CEO of Sauber Motorsport AG. “Thanks to the success of this relationship, we will continue to optimize our logistic processes, a fundamental part of competitive success in Formula 1.” Jens Karolyi, Senior Vice President Corporate Marketing and Culture at Interoll, expressed his satisfaction concerning this on-going partnership: “We certainly appreciate the attention Sauber pay to the quality, efficiency and innovation factors. Our continued dialogue and joint events are a source of inspiration for us as well as our clients”.

45 years experience in automotive prototype development
Opening the press conference, Christof Hansen, development manager at Sauber Engineering AG, gave an overview of the Sauber group history. With its state of the art production center, a Formula 1 racing team and over 45 years experience in the development of sports car prototypes, the Sauber group provides innovative engineering solutions. Their entry into Formula 1 goes back to 1993. Today this sport represents 70% of the group’s operations and the team has already expressed its satisfaction at their car’s new found competitiveness for next year’s championships and looks ahead with great optimism.
The Sauber group is made up of three divisions: Motor Sport, Engineering and Aerodynamics. The Engineering division has been focusing on additive manufacturing for third parties since 2007, the moment in which internal 3D printing was born. Since then, the department has grown without stopping up to the point that there is now a partnership with the 3D Systems company. Nowadays, Additive Manufacturing is regularly used to manufacture parts that would be difficult to produce using traditional approaches. Hansen also spoke about the 2025 mission: increasing Sauber technology penetration along with definitions of new standards at global level, above and beyond that of the sporting context”.

The new versatile and scalable intralogistics platform
The new Interroll DC Platform, available on the market in 2019 was introduced by Yens Jens Karolyi, Senior Vice President Corporate Marketing and Culture.
It will be officially launched at the LOGIMAT fair, in Stuttgart.  The DC Platform is a step toward digital excellence. It is what Industry 4.0 is all about, containing M2M communication and predictive maintenance. It is modular and versatile and an integral part of the MCP (Modular Conveyor Platform) system. The platform combines Roller Drives drum motors with a control unit and a power unit which satisfies even highly specialized customer’s needs and can manage both standard requirements with advanced functionality as well as smart digital manufacturing. At the heart of the product are the new RollerDrive EC5000: working together with their control units, these drum motors represent the main component of the conveyors, without pressure build up, and feature transport zones which can be activated one at a time, in the same way the Interroll Modular Conveyor Platform (MCP) works.  Compared to the RollerDrive EC310, which will remain on sale, the RollerDrive EC5000 range offers many new technological features in terms of voltage (as well as the 24 V version, the new RollerDrive will use 48V technology) and in power (it is possible to choose between power levels: 20, 35 and 50 W. The new RollerDrive EC5000 is also available with a bus interface. Further change can be seen in tube diameter which now reaches 60 mm, for transport of heavy goods. Let’s look at the MultiControl multi-zone control system that is compatible with many protocols and can manage up to four EC5000s. This is the ideal control solution for both simple and complex applications, whether they be integrated logic autonomous transporters or those with personalized PLC programming and communication through network bus. We can conclude with a look at the power unit, another innovative feature of the DC Platform. “The power supply unit – confirmed Jens Karolyi is a “plug&play” solution which gets rid of the need to have an electric cabinet”. In fact, new power systems – with IP54 level protection – don’t need to be inside the electrical cabinet, rather, they can be mounted directly where low tension level safety is required, thus cutting down on cabling.

Exhaustive lab testing up to 10 million working hours
The DC Platform was lab tested over 10 million working hours, with 14 Roller Drive lines and 25 EC5000 on each line. Testing was carried out in the Center of Excellence for rollers and drum motors in Wermelskirche, which deals with development, production and sales of the DC Platform. Here, all products are put under long-term stress tests while thermic resistance is evaluated in special chambers.
The new DC platform has been tested to very high levels of precision for any type of application. The “built-to-order” system is used for its production. This intelligent process based on the Interroll Production System (IPS) means made to measure production can be managed respecting even the tightest deadline and with minimal order quantity.